The Q&A Archives: Whiteflies

Question: How do you get rid of white flies on vegetable plants? Thank you.

Answer: Whiteflies can be real pests. Insecticidal soaps are effective, but you need to saturate both the tops and the undersides of the leaves to get the adults, nymphs and eggs. It often takes multiple sprays to get the population down to a manageable size. There are predacious wasps that feed on whiteflies, so if you use a chemical, you'll kill the beneficial wasps as well. Try hosing your plants off with plain water every few days, being thorough and hitting all plant parts with the water. Or, you can make yellow sticky traps that will attract the whiteflies but not harm the beneficial insects. Take bright yellow cardboard or index cards and smear with petroleum jelly. Suspend the traps from stakes placed among the infested plants. The whiteflies will beattracted to the yellow color and will become entrapped on the sticky surface. Replace the traps when they're no longer sticky, or when they're full. You just have to be persistent in your method of control and eventually you'll be the victor!

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